CBR News has received confirmation that the iconic fantasy illustrator Frank Frazetta passed away today at the age of 82.
A New York City native whose career began in the comic book field at the end of the Golden Age, Frazetta was best known for his fantasy illustrations. From his character and genre-defining run of cover images depicting sword-and-sorcery hero Conan The Barbarian to his own haunting Death Dealer painting and character, the artist found immense popularity across a wide spectrum of fans. From fantasy buffs to heavy metal bands and from comic collector’s to western enthusiasts, Frazetta’s paintings not only inspired many imitators and followers but also made him incredibly popular and comparatively wealthy for a creator in the field of genre art.
Frazetta’s mark on the comics world was a strong one. Aside from early comic book work that included a variety of genres and characters such as DC Comics Shining Knight, the artist spent many years as an assistant on some of the most varied and popular newspaper and magazine comics of all time including “Li’l Abner,” “Flash Gordon” and “Little Annie Fanny.” However, it was a chance job offer to paint the lobby poster for the 1965 Woody Allen-penned movie “What’s New Pussycat?” that opened up the painter’s eyes to the financial and creative benefits of painting full time, and soon after he put all his effort into creating fantasy and horror pieces both for commercial uses like book covers as well as for the purpose of creating his own images and intellectual property.
Recent years have seen Frazetta return to comics in his own way as a number of monthly series have been produced based around his own original characters and published by Image Comics. And while the most recent news surrounding the painter has been the less than ideal public airing of family disputes over the rights to his physical artwork, the Frazetta family recently announced it had found a way to join together in celebrating Frank’s life and work.
Look back to CBR soon for more word on the life and legacy of Frank Frazetta.